If you will be in town and haven’t made plans for today, Saturday, June 4, I would encourage and invite everyone to attend the day-long Sesquicentennial Celebration (150th Anniversary) in downtown Rolla.
Rolla’s actual date of incorporation was Jan. 25, 2011, and if you didn’t have a chance to attend the Sesquicentennial Kick-Off and 150th Birthday party, you will have the opportunity today to truly celebrate Rolla’s heritage and history. The public is invited to attend Rolla’s Sesquicentennial (150th Birthday) Celebration today in conjunction with Route 66 Summerfest in the Downtown Festival Park located at 9th and Oak Streets in downtown Rolla. The day-long celebration kicks off at 8 a.m. with “A Walk Through History’ at Rolla City Hall (901 N. Elm Street). This aspect of the celebration will include vintage photographs of Rolla and Phelps County, oral histories of Rolla, an Historic Walking Tour of Rolla photographic exhibit and guided tours of the Frisco Caboose Route 66 Museum.
The celebration continues at 10 a.m. with a Sesquicentennial Parade on Pine Street in downtown Rolla where 15 decades will be represented by various community and civic organizations. Following the parade, the official Sesquicentennial Program begins at 11:30 a.m. at the downtown bandshell. Several City, County and State officials, as well as long-time Rolla residents and international dignitaries, will be part of the ceremony, which will include live performances by the Rolla Community Choir, Rolla Men of Song and Rolla Coral Arts Society Jazz Choir. The 399th Army Band from Fort Leonard Wood will also be performing patriotic songs during the program that will stir the crowd and demonstrate Rolla’s strong ties to Fort Leonard Wood and the U.S. military.
Later that afternoon Sesquicentennial festivities will also be held at the Old Phelps County Courthouse (located on 3rd Street off of Rolla Street) with a Secession Debate (1-2 p.m.) historic re-enactments (2 p.m.), a living history demonstration and lots of historic exhibits, crafters, pioneer displays and tours of the old Phelps County Courthouse, and the 1857 John A. Dillon Log Cabin. The historic exhibits, crafters, vendors and museums in and around the old Phelps County Courthouse will also be open to the public that day from 12-noon until 4 p.m. The final event of the day will be held at 4 p.m. outside the old Phelps County Courthouse when officials from the Phelps County Commission and Phelps County Historical Society pay tribute to and commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the old Phelps County Courthouse.
I would especially like to thank the members of the Rolla Sesquicentennial Planning Committee who have met on a monthly basis since December 2010 to host both the Sesquicentennial Kick-Off on Jan. 25, 2011 and the Sesquicentennial Celebration today, June 4: Larry Stratman, Phelps County Commissioner; Mark Stauter, Phelps County Historical Society member; Carolyn Tilford, President of the Phelps County Historical Society; John Petersen, the City’s Director of Community Development and Living History organizer; Aimee Campbell, Tourism Director, Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Wayne Bledsoe, General Manager, KMST and former Chairman of the History Department at Missouri University of Science and Technology; Jaime Rinehart, History Teacher, Rolla Jr. High School; Judy Jepsen, former Rolla City Councilwoman; Dan Henke, Historical Re-enactor and Phelps County Historical Society member; Diane Henke, Curator, Phelps County Historical Museum and Ex-Officio members John Butz, Rolla City Administrator and Scott Grahl, Communications Officer and Chairman of the Sesquicentennial Planning Committee.
I would also like to extend my thanks and appreciation to the following businesses, organizations and service clubs who generously sponsored the Sesquicentennial festivities with monetary and grant awards: Phelps County Bank, Town and Country Bank, Rolla Municipal Utilities, Rolla Kiwanis Club, Rolla Rotary Club and Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce. For more information regarding Sesquicentennial festivities, please visit the City of Rolla Website at www.rollacity.org. And don’t forget Sesquicentennial T-shirts, posters, and City flags will be on sale at Rolla City Hall and The Centre (1200 N. Holloway Street).
In addition, I would like to extend my appreciation to all the City departments, including Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Environmental Services, Rolla Police Department, Rolla Fire and Rescue, Community Development, Administration and Finance for all of their hard work and effort in helping to host the Sesquicentennial Celebration. It has been a total team effort from several City employees, and much appreciated.
In closing I’d like to remind everyone SplashZone, Rolla’s outdoor water park, located in Ber Juan Park, is open and will remain open throughout the summer months Monday through Friday (noon-7 p.m.) and Saturday and Sunday (noon-6 p.m.). Closing day at SplashZone is Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5. For more information for special events, private rentals, swimming lessons and other information, please call 364-8222 or 341-2FUN.
I’d also like to remind everyone that the Rolla Public Library Summer Reading Program begins Tuesday, June 7 as children up to age 12 will travel around the world, learning about different people, places and cultures through stories, activities and crafts. The Summer Reading Program, which will be held in the Leola Millar Children's Addition on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. from June 7 through July 28, is free of charge. For more information, please call 573-364-2604 or stop by the Rolla Public Library at 900 North Pine Street.
Enjoy the Sesquicentennial Celebration and Summerfest festivities, and have a safe and memorable weekend.